Film Review: 10 Things I Hate About You

To make up for my neglecting the film-related parts of my blog, I've decided to revive it with tonight's viewing - 10 Things I Hate About You. For those (like me) who've never seen it before, it's basically a reworking of Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. Julia Stiles - where is she now? - plays Kat Stratford, an anti-social riot grrl who looks down on her classmates in that pseudo-intellectual way teenagers have a pretentious tendency to do. However, this means her sister Bianca cannot date until Kat does, something which frustrates many of their male classmates including new boy Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, probably most famous at the time for his role in Third Rock from the Sun but now 'that guy from Inception') and Joey the jock. In order to get a date with Bianca, Cameron persuades Joey to pay rebel Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to go out with Kat, but of course it's not that simple...

What elevates this above a typical teen comedy is the awesome soundtrack and the performances, particularly those of Stiles and Ledger, whose characters could have been the typical 'moody girl' and 'dangerous guy' but end up being able to give as they get in sparkling exchanges and actually making you care about their relationship. It also strikes a nice balance in the dialogue in taking the odd line from the original play and referencing other works but keeping the setting and the majority of the script in the present day, rather than the Baz Luhrman tactic of effectively just transporting the play to a modern day setting and putting it on film (which is not an adaptation in my book). And, although it feels wrong to type this about someone who's no longer with us, Heath Ledger is rather attractive in it.

The only flaws are that it takes a little longer than I'd like to truly get going, probably could have done with fewer peripheral characters (Bogie Lowenstein, who apart from hosting the party which acts as a fairly significant shift in Kat and Patrick's relationship, seems to serve no purpose), mostly raises smiles and giggles rather than belly laughs - apart from Kat's attempt to distract the teacher whilst Patrick escapes from detention - and has a slightly rushed ending. But overall, an excellent easy watch for a Saturday night if you're in the mood for something light, frothy and fun.

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